Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pope Francis "God speaks with the language of love, of care, of free service to those in need." FULL TEXT + Video at Audience


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Catechesis on the Journey in the Baltics

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In recent days I have made an apostolic trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, on the occasion of the centenary of the independence of these countries called the Baltics. One hundred years that they lived half under the yoke of the occupations, the Nazi one, first, and the Soviet one, then. They are peoples who have suffered greatly, and for this reason the Lord has looked at them with predilection. I'm sure about this. I thank the Presidents of the three republics and civil authorities for the exquisite reception I received. I thank the Bishops and all those who have collaborated in preparing and carrying out this ecclesial event.

My visit took place in a very changed context compared to the one that met St. John Paul II; therefore my mission was to proclaim to those peoples the joy of the Gospel and the revolution of tenderness, of mercy, because freedom is not enough to give meaning and fullness to life without love, love that always comes from God. The Gospel, that in the time of trial gives strength and soul the struggle for liberation, in the time of freedom it is light for the daily journey of people, families, societies and it is salt that gives flavor to ordinary life and preserves it from the corruption of mediocrity and of selfishness.

In Lithuania, Catholics are the majority, while Lutherans and Orthodox prevail in Latvia and Estonia, but many have turned away from religious life. So the challenge is to strengthen the communion among all Christians, already developed during the harsh period of persecution. In fact, the ecumenical dimension was intrinsic to this journey, and found expression in the moment of prayer in the Riga Cathedral and in the meeting with young people in Tallinn.
In addressing the respective Authorities of the three countries, I have emphasized the contribution they give to the community of nations and especially to Europe: the contribution of human and social values ​​passed through the melting pot of proof. I encouraged dialogue between the generation of the elderly and that of the young, because the contact with the "roots" can continue to fertilize the present and the future. I urged to always combine freedom with solidarity and hospitality, according to the tradition of those lands.

Two specific meetings were dedicated to young people and to the elderly: with the young people in Vilnius, with the elderly in Riga. In the square of Vilnius, full of boys and girls, the motto of the visit to Lithuania was palpable: "Jesus Christ our hope". The testimonies have shown the beauty of prayer and of singing, where the soul opens to God; the joy of serving others, leaving the enclosures of the "I" to be on the way, able to get up after the falls. With the elderly, in Latvia, I emphasized the close link between patience and hope. Those who have gone through hard trials are the roots of a people, to be guarded with the grace of God, so that new sprouts can draw and flourish and bear fruit. The challenge for those who age is not to harden inside, but to remain open and tender in mind and heart; and this is possible with the "sap" of the Holy Spirit, in prayer and listening to the Word.
Even with priests, consecrated persons and seminarians, met in Lithuania, the dimension of constancy appeared to be essential for hope: to be centered in God, firmly rooted in his love. What a great testimony in this they have given and still give many priests, religious men and women religious! They suffered slanders, prisons, deportations ... but they remained steadfast in the faith. I urged not to forget, to keep the memory of the martyrs, to follow their examples.

And speaking of memory, in Vilnius I paid tribute to the victims of the Jewish genocide in Lithuania, exactly 75 years after the closure of the great Ghetto, which was the antechamber of death for tens of thousands of Jews. At the same time I visited the Museum of Occupations and Freedom for Freedom: I stopped in prayer right in the rooms where the opponents of the regime were detained, tortured and killed. They killed more or less forty per night. It is moving to see how far human cruelty can come. Let's think about this.
The years pass, the regimes pass, but above the Gate of the Dawn of Vilnius, Mary, Mother of Mercy, continues to watch over her people, as a sign of sure hope and consolation (cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Const. Dogmatum Lumen Gentium, 68).

A living sign of the Gospel is always concrete charity. Even where secularization is stronger, God speaks with the language of love, of care, of free service to those in need. And then the hearts are opened, and miracles happen: in the deserts sprouts new life.
In the three Eucharistic celebrations - in Kaunas, Lithuania, in Aglona, Latvia, and in Tallinn, Estonia - the holy faithful People of God walking in those lands renewed their "yes" to Christ our hope; he renewed it with Mary, who always shows herself to be the Mother of her children, especially the most suffering; he renewed it as a chosen, priestly and holy people, in whose heart God awakens the grace of baptism.

We pray for our brothers and sisters from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Thank you!

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particuliers les groupes venus de Verdun, Bordeaux, Nice et Strasbourg. Pour chacun de nous, le Christ est notre espérance. A l’exemple de nos frères en pays baltes, faisons preuve de persévérance dans la foi et faisons mémoire de ceux qui nous ont précédés, pour que Dieu parle à notre cœur et que germe autour de nous une vie nouvelle. Que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly the groups from England, Scotland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and the United States of America. In a particular way my greeting goes to the new seminarians of the Venerable English College as they begin their priestly formation here in Rome, and to the seminarians of the Pontifical North American College and their families gathered for the ordination to the Diaconate to be celebrated tomorrow. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Sehr herzlich heiße ich alle Pilger deutscher Sprache willkommen. Mit Freude grüße ich die zahlreichen Schulgruppen, insbesondere die Schüler und Schülerinnen aus Cloppenburg, Hamburg, Meppen und Ostfriesland. Liebe Freunde, seid immer Zeugen für Christus, unserer Hoffnung, der die Gnade seiner Liebe in unseren Herzen erweckt. Der Herr segne euch und stütze euch auf eurem Glaubensweg.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica. Los animo a ser fieles al Evangelio de Jesús, que en tiempos de prueba da fuerza y alienta en la esperanza, y en tiempos de libertad ilumina la vida cotidiana de las personas, las familias y la sociedad. Que María, Madre de la Misericordia, nos acompañe en el camino de la caridad concreta y del servicio gratuito. Muchas gracias.
Saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, particularmente os fiéis de Niterói e de Olinda e Recife. Unidos na oração pelo próximo Sínodo dos Bispos sobre os jovens, a fé e o discernimento vocacional, faço votos de que a vossa peregrinação a Roma fortaleça, no amor divino, os vínculos de cada um com a sua família, com a comunidade eclesial e com a sociedade. Que Nossa Senhora vos acompanhe e proteja!
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، لنختر أن نكون قدّيسين ونداوي هوامش وضواحي مجتمعنا حيث يُطرح أخانا ويعاني بسبب التهميش. لنحدق النظر بذلك الأخ ونمدَّ له يدنا لنُنهضه، لأنه يحمل صورة الله وهو أخ افتداه يسوع المسيح. هذه هي القداسة المُعاشة في الحياة اليوميّة! ليبارككم الرب!
Serdecznie witam wiernych z Polski. W sposób szczególny pozdrawiam dyrekcję generalną i funkcjonariuszy polskiej Służby Więziennej, którzy pielgrzymują do Rzymu z okazji stulecia istnienia. Dziękuję wszystkim, którzy towarzyszyli mi w modlitwie podczas mojej podróży. Zachowując w sercu doświadczenie tej wizyty w krajach historycznie i duchowo związanych z Polską, zawierzam Matce Miłosierdzia z Ostrej Bramy was, wasze rodziny i waszą Ojczyznę. Z serca wam błogosławię!


Dear brothers and sisters,

Last Saturday, September 22, a Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China was signed in Beijing on the appointment of Bishops in China. The Agreement is the fruit of a long and thoughtful journey of dialogue, intended to foster a more positive collaboration between the Holy See and the Chinese authorities for the good of the Catholic community in China and for the harmony of the whole society.

In this spirit, I have decided to address a message of fraternal encouragement to Chinese Catholics and to the whole universal Church, which will be published today. With this, I hope that in China a new phase can be opened, which helps to heal the wounds of the past, to restore and maintain the full communion of all Chinese Catholics and to take up the proclamation of the Gospel with renewed commitment.

Dear brothers and sisters, we have an important task! We are called to accompany our brothers and sisters in China with fervent prayer and fraternal friendship. They know they are not alone. The whole Church prays with them and for them. We ask Our Lady, Mother of Hope and Help of Christians, to bless and keep all Catholics in China, while for the entire Chinese people we invoke from God the gift of prosperity and peace.

* * *

I extend a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I am pleased to welcome the Capitulars of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception; the participants in the meeting promoted by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life and the one promoted by the Daughters of Mercy.

I greet the parish groups; the faithful of the Diocese of Alessandria, with the Bishop, Mons. Guido Gallese and Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi; the Santa Chiara School of Assisi in Avellino; the group of the University of Foggia; the Fondazione Mons. Cesare Mazzolari di Concesio and the pilgrims of Robbio.

A particular thought I address to the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds.

Today is the liturgical memory of the medical saints and martyrs Cosma and Damiano. Let us learn from these two brothers, the Christian witness of their faith in the tireless and gratuitous care offered to those who were afflicted with infirmity. Through their intercession, the Lord gives comfort and health to all those who are suffering and sick and inspires generosity and spirit of service to those in charge of health care.

#BreakingNews FULL TEXT Letter of Pope Francis to Chinese Church on Unity


“Eternal is his merciful love;
He is faithful from age to age”
(Psalm 100:5)

Dear brother bishops, priests, consecrated men and women and all the faithful of the Catholic Church in China, let us thank the Lord, for “eternal is his merciful love! He made us, we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep of his flock” (Ps 100:3).
At this moment, my heart echoes the words of exhortation addressed to you by my venerable predecessor in his Letter of 27 May 2007: “Catholic Church in China, you are a small flock present and active within the vastness of an immense people journeying through history. How stirring and encouraging these words of Jesus are for you: ‘Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom’ (Lk 12:32)! … Therefore, ‘let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 5:16)” (BENEDICT XVILetter to Chinese Catholics, 27 May 2007, 5).
1. Of late, many conflicting reports have circulated about the present and, in particular, the future of the Catholic communities in China. I am aware that this flurry of thoughts and opinions may have caused a certain confusion and prompted different reactions in the hearts of many. Some feel doubt and perplexity, while others sense themselves somehow abandoned by the Holy See and anxiously question the value of their sufferings endured out of fidelity to the Successor of Peter. In many others, there prevail positive expectations and reflections inspired by the hope of a more serene future for a fruitful witness to the faith in China.
This situation has become more acute, particularly with regard to the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China, which, as you know, was signed in recent days in Beijing. At so significant a moment for the life of the Church, I want to assure you through this brief Message that you are daily present in my prayers, and to share with you my heartfelt feelings.
They are sentiments of thanksgiving to the Lord and of sincere admiration – which is the admiration of the entire Catholic Church – for the gift of your fidelity, your constancy amid trials, and your firm trust in God’s providence, even when certain situations proved particularly adverse and difficult.
These painful experiences are part of the spiritual treasury of the Church in China and of all God’s pilgrim people on earth. I assure you that the Lord, through the crucible of our trials, never fails to pour out his consolations upon us and to prepare us for an even greater joy. In the words of the Psalmist, we are more than certain that “those who are sowing in tears, will sing when they reap” (Ps 126[125]:5).
Let us continue to look, then, to the example of all those faithful laity and pastors who readily offered their “good witness” (cf. 1 Tim 6:13) to the Gospel, even to the sacrifice of their own lives. They showed themselves true friends of God!
2. For my part, I have always looked upon China as a land of great opportunities and the Chinese people as the creators and guardians of an inestimable patrimony of culture and wisdom, refined by resisting adversity and embracing diversity, and which, not by chance, entered into contact from early times with the Christian message. As Father Matteo Ricci, S.J., perceptively noted in challenging us to the virtue of trust, “before entering into friendship, one must observe; after becoming friends, one must trust” (De Amicitia, 7).
I too am convinced that encounter can be authentic and fruitful only if it occurs through the practice of dialogue, which involves coming to know one another, to respect one another and to “walk together” for the sake of building a common future of sublime harmony.
This is the context in which to view the Provisional Agreement, which is the result of a lengthy and complex institutional dialogue between the Holy See and the Chinese authorities initiated by Saint John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict XVI. Through this process, the Holy See has desired – and continues to desire – only to attain the Church’s specific spiritual and pastoral aims, namely, to support and advance the preaching of the Gospel, and to reestablish and preserve the full and visible unity of the Catholic community in China.
With regard to the importance of this Agreement and its aims, I would like to share with you a few reflections and provide you with some input of a spiritual pastoral nature for the journey we are called to undertake in this new phase.
It is a journey that, as in its earlier stages, “requires time and presupposes the good will of both parties” (BENEDICT XVILetter to Chinese Catholics, 27 May 2007, 4). But for the Church, within and outside of China, this involves more than simply respecting human values. It is also a spiritual calling: to go out from herself to embrace “the joys and the hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially those who are poor or afflicted” (SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 1) and the challenges of the present that God entrusts to us. It is thus an ecclesial summons to become pilgrims along the paths of history, trusting before all else in God and in his promises, as did Abraham and our fathers in the faith.
Called by God, Abraham obeyed by setting out for an unknown land that he was to receive as an inheritance, without knowing the path that lay ahead. Had Abraham demanded ideal social and political conditions before leaving his land, perhaps he would never have set out. Instead, he trusted in God and in response to God’s word he left his home and its safety. It was not historical changes that made him put his trust in God; rather, it was his pure faith that brought about a change in history. For faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received [God’s] approval” (Heb 11:1-2).
3. As the Successor of Peter, I want to confirm you in this faith (cf. Lk 22:32) – in the faith of Abraham, in the faith of the Virgin Mary, in the faith you have received –and to ask you to place your trust ever more firmly in the Lord of history and in the Church’s discernment of his will. May all of us implore the gift of the Spirit to illumine our minds, warm our hearts and help us to understand where he would lead us, in order to overcome inevitable moments of bewilderment, and to find the strength to set out resolutely on the road ahead.
Precisely for the sake of supporting and promoting the preaching of the Gospel in China and reestablishing full and visible unity in the Church, it was essential, before all else, to deal with the issue of the appointment of bishops. Regrettably, as we know, the recent history of the Catholic Church in China has been marked by deep and painful tensions, hurts and divisions, centred especially on the figure of the bishop as the guardian of the authenticity of the faith and as guarantor of ecclesial communion.
When, in the past, it was presumed to determine the internal life of the Catholic communities, imposing direct control above and beyond the legitimate competence of the state, the phenomenon of clandestinity arose in the Church in China. This experience – it must be emphasized – is not a normal part of the life of the Church and “history shows that pastors and faithful have recourse to it only amid suffering, in the desire to maintain the integrity of their faith” (BENEDICT XVILetter to Chinese Catholics, 27 May 2007, 8).
I would have you know that, from the time I was entrusted with the Petrine ministry, I have experienced great consolation in knowing the heartfelt desire of Chinese Catholics to live their faith in full communion with the universal Church and with the Successor of Peter, who is “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 23). In these years, I have received numerous concrete signs and testimonies of that desire, including from bishops who have damaged communion in the Church as a result of weakness and errors, but also, and not infrequently, due to powerful and undue pressure from without.
Consequently, after carefully examining every individual personal situation, and listening to different points of view, I have devoted much time to reflection and prayer, seeking the true good of the Church in China. In the end, before the Lord and with serenity of judgment, in continuity with the direction set by my immediate predecessors, I have determined to grant reconciliation to the remaining seven “official” bishops ordained without papal mandate and, having lifted every relevant canonical sanction, to readmit them to full ecclesial communion. At the same time, I ask them to express with concrete and visible gestures their restored unity with the Apostolic See and with the Churches spread throughout the world, and to remain faithful despite any difficulties.
4. In the sixth year of my Pontificate, which I have placed from the beginning under the banner of God’s merciful love, I now invite all Chinese Catholics to work towards reconciliation. May all be mindful, with renewed apostolic zeal, of the words of Saint Paul: “God… has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18).
Indeed, as I wrote at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, “no law or precept can prevent God from once more embracing the son who returns to him admitting that he has done wrong but intending to start his life anew. Remaining only at the level of the law is equivalent to thwarting faith and divine mercy… Even in the most complex cases, where there is a temptation to apply a justice derived from rules alone, we must believe in the power flowing from divine grace”(Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, 20 November 2016, 11).
In this spirit, and in line with the decisions that have been made, we can initiate an unprecedented process that we hope will help to heal the wounds of the past, restore full communion among all Chinese Catholics, and lead to a phase of greater fraternal cooperation, in order to renew our commitment to the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. For the Church exists for the sake of bearing witness to Jesus Christ and to the forgiving and saving love of the Father.
5. The Provisional Agreement signed with the Chinese authorities, while limited to certain aspects of the Church’s life and necessarily capable of improvement, can contribute – for its part – to writing this new chapter of the Catholic Church in China. For the first time, the Agreement sets out stable elements of cooperation between the state authorities and the Apostolic See, in the hope of providing the Catholic community with good shepherds.
In this context, the Holy See intends fully to play its own part. Yet an important part also falls to you, the bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful: to join in seeking good candidates capable of taking up in the Church the demanding and important ministry of bishop. It is not a question of appointing functionaries to deal with religious issues, but of finding authentic shepherds according to the heart of Jesus, men committed to working generously in the service of God’s people, especially the poor and the most vulnerable. Men who take seriously the Lord’s words: “Whoever would become great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all” (Mk 10:43-44).
In this regard, it seems clear that an Agreement is merely an instrument, and not of itself capable of resolving all existing problems. Indeed, it will prove ineffective and unproductive, unless it is accompanied by a deep commitment to renewing personal attitudes and ecclesial forms of conduct.
6. On the pastoral level, the Catholic community in China is called to be united, so as to overcome the divisions of the past that have caused, and continue to cause great suffering in the hearts of many pastors and faithful. All Christians, none excluded, must now offer gestures of reconciliation and communion. In this regard, let us keep in mind the admonition of Saint John of the Cross: “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love” (Dichos, 64).
On the civil and political level, Chinese Catholics must be good citizens, loving their homeland and serving their country with diligence and honesty, to the best of their ability. On the ethical level, they should be aware that many of their fellow citizens expect from them a greater commitment to the service of the common good and the harmonious growth of society as a whole. In particular, Catholics ought to make a prophetic and constructive contribution born of their faith in the kingdom of God. At times, this may also require of them the effort to offer a word of criticism, not out of sterile opposition, but for the sake of building a society that is more just, humane and respectful of the dignity of each person.
7. I now turn to you, my brother bishops, priests and consecrated persons who “serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps 100:2). Let us recognize one another as followers of Christ in the service of God’s people. Let us make pastoral charity the compass for our ministry. Let us leave behind past conflicts and attempts to pursue our own interests, and care for the faithful, making our own their joys and their sufferings. Let us work humbly for reconciliation and unity. With energy and enthusiasm, let us take up the path of evangelization indicated by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.
To everyone, I say once more with great affection: “Let us be inspired to act by the example of all those priests, religious, and laity who devote themselves to proclamation and to serving others with great fidelity, often at the risk of their lives and certainly at the cost of their comfort. Their testimony reminds us that, more than bureaucrats and functionaries, the Church needs passionate missionaries, enthusiastic about sharing true life. The saints surprise us; they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity” (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, 19 March 2018, 138).
I ask you wholeheartedly to beg for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward: “Let us ask for the apostolic courage to share the Gospel with others and to stop trying to make our Christian life a museum of memories. In every situation, may the Holy Spirit cause us to contemplate history in the light of the risen Jesus. In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord’s surprises” (ibid., 139).
8. In this year, when the entire Church celebrates the Synod on Young People, I would like to say a special word to you, young Chinese Catholics, who enter the gates of the house of the Lord “giving thanks [and] with songs of praise” (Ps 100:4). I ask you to cooperate in building the future of your country with the talents and gifts that you have received, and with the youthfulness of your faith. I encourage you to bring, by your enthusiasm, the joy of the Gospel to everyone you meet.
Be ready to accept the sure guidance of the Holy Spirit, who shows today’s world the path to reconciliation and peace. Let yourselves be surprised by the renewing power of grace, even when it may seem that the Lord is asking more of you than you think you can give. Do not be afraid to listen to his voice as he calls you to fraternity, encounter, capacity for dialogue and forgiveness, and a spirit of service, regardless of the painful experiences of the recent past and wounds not yet healed.
Open your hearts and minds to discern the merciful plan of God, who asks us to rise above personal prejudices and conflicts between groups and communities, in order to undertake a courageous fraternal journey in the light of an authentic culture of encounter.
Nowadays there is no lack of temptations: the pride born of worldly success, narrow-mindedness and absorption in material things, as if God did not exist. Go against the flow and stand firm in the Lord: “for he is good; eternal is his merciful love; he is faithful from age to age” (Ps 100:5).
9. Dear brothers and sisters of the universal Church, all of us are called to recognize as one of the signs of our times everything that is happening today in the life of the Church in China. We have an important duty: to accompany our brothers and sisters in China with fervent prayer and fraternal friendship. Indeed, they need to feel that in the journey that now lies ahead, they are not alone. They need to be accepted and supported as a vital part of the Church. “How good and pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together in unity!” (Ps 133:1).
Each local Catholic community in every part of the world should make an effort to appreciate and integrate the spiritual and cultural treasures proper to Chinese Catholics. The time has come to taste together the genuine fruits of the Gospel sown in the ancient “Middle Kingdom” and to raise to the Lord Jesus Christ a hymn of faith and thanksgiving, enriched by authentically Chinese notes.
10. I now turn with respect to the leaders of the People’s Republic of China and renew my invitation to continue, with trust, courage and farsightedness, the dialogue begun some time ago. I wish to assure them that the Holy See will continue to work sincerely for the growth of genuine friendship with the Chinese people.
The present contacts between the Holy See and the Chinese government are proving useful for overcoming past differences, even those of the more recent past, and for opening a new chapter of more serene and practical cooperation, in the shared conviction that “incomprehension [serves] the interests of neither the Chinese people nor the Catholic Church in China” (BENEDICT XVILetter to Chinese Catholics, 27 May 2007, 4).
In this way, China and the Apostolic See, called by history to an arduous yet exciting task, will be able to act more positively for the orderly and harmonious growth of the Catholic community in China. They will make efforts to promote the integral development of society by ensuring greater respect for the human person, also in the religious sphere, and will work concretely to protect the environment in which we live and to build a future of peace and fraternity between peoples.
In China, it is essential that, also on the local level, relations between the leaders of ecclesial communities and the civil authorities become more productive through frank dialogue and impartial listening, so as to overcome antagonism on both sides. A new style of straightforward daily cooperation needs to develop between local authorities and ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, priests and community elders – in order to ensure that pastoral activities take place in an orderly manner, in harmony with the legitimate expectations of the faithful and the decisions of competent authorities.
This will help make it clear that the Church in China is not oblivious to Chinese history, nor does she seek any privilege. Her aim in the dialogue with civil authorities is that of “building a relationship based on mutual respect and deeper understanding” (ibid.).
11. In the name of the whole Church, I beg the Lord for the gift of peace, and I invite all to join me in invoking the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary:
Mother of Heaven, hear the plea of your children as we humbly call upon your name!
Virgin of Hope, we entrust to you the journey of the faithful in the noble land of China. We ask you to present to the Lord of history the trials and tribulations, the petitions and the hopes of all those who pray to you, O Queen of Heaven!
Mother of the Church, we consecrate to you the present and the future of our families and our communities. Protect and sustain them in fraternal reconciliation and in service to the poor who bless your name, O Queen of   Heaven!
Consolation of the Afflicted, we turn to you, for you are the refuge of all who weep amid their trials. Watch over your sons and daughters who praise your name; make them one in bringing the proclamation of the Gospel. Accompany their efforts to build a more fraternal world.  Grant that they may bring the joy of forgiveness to all whom they meet, O Queen of Heaven!
Mary, Help of Christians, for China we implore days of blessing and of peace.   Amen!
From the Vatican, 26 September 2018


RIP Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, of the Congregation of the Immac. Heart of Mary- Death of 1st Mongolian Bishop

ASIA/MONGOLIA - Mongolia mourns Mgr. Padilla, first Bishop of Mongolia Ulaanbaatar (Agenzia Fides) - Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM, also called "Scheut Missionaries"), first Bishop of Mongolia, died on September 25 at the age of 68, following a heart attack.
He accompanied the young Mongolian church for the past 26 years.
Mgr. Padilla, of Filipino nationality, was in fact sent to Mongolia in 1992, following the reopening of the nation, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as Superior of the "Missio sui iuris", and since then did not leave the nation. Today the local Church (a community of 1.300 faithful) cries and remembers him as a person of great faith, who dedicated his whole life to the poor and to the education of children and young people.
In a message sent to Fides, Pablo Virgilio David, vice-president of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines and Bishop of Kalookan, expressed the condolences of the Filipino Church to the Church of Mongolia, "the youngest Catholic church in the world", praising "the Bishop's contribution to evangelization in Mongolia"."Msgr. Padilla - he recalled - worked with all his heart, did his best, he gave himself wholeheartedly to a foreign people, in a distant land. God used him to touch the hearts of so many people in Mongolia".
Wenceslao Padilla was born on September 28, 1949 in Tubao, Philippines. He was ordained a priest on March 17, 1976 and was appointed Apostolic Prefect of Mongolia on July 10, 2002. His episcopal consecration took place on August 29, 2003 in the cathedral dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, in Ulanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
He had arrived in Mongolia with two other Filipino priests - all members of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) - in July 1992 shortly after the Holy See established diplomatic relations with Mongolia. When he arrived with two of his CICM confreres, there was no church or Catholic in Mongolia. However, he discovered some Catholic foreigners among the personnel who worked in foreign embassies. Thus prayer meetings began in the house, where Sunday Mass was celebrated. As the number of participants grew, community halls were rented to celebrate Sunday mass. Only years later real churches were built.
Thanks to the pastoral work of Mgr. Padilla’s and the first priests, the "little flock" of the church in Mongolia was reborn, a community that has always been committed to its mission through dialogue with cultures, religions and poor people. From the beginning, the Catholic community held a sensitive and respectful attitude towards local cultures, establishing good relations with other religions, while dealing with the service and social assistance of many disadvantaged, poor and marginalized people in society. The territory entrusted to Bishop Padilla included all of Mongolia - two and a half million people, in the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar. At the time of his episcopal ordination, in 2003, Bishop Padilla said: "The priority is to be on good terms with everyone, without discrimination, bearing a testimony of Christ's love to Buddhists, other Christians, Muslims and the whole people of Mongolia".
Right from the beginning, Padilla conquered the heart of the Mongolian people and was greatly appreciated among Russian Orthodox Christians, Buddhists, shamans and members of non-Christian religious groups.
As a Bishop, he immediately committed himself to raising the educational level of the community of the faithful, from kindergarten to university. "We have sponsored students to go abroad and graduate in a foreign university, but I want our young people to have a good education here in their country", he said.
After 26 years of Bishop Padilla's ministry, several missionaries came to Mongolia from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. They found technical schools, orphanages, homes for the elderly, clinics, shelters for domestic violence and nurseries. These centers are often set up in suburbs where basic services are missing. The beneficiaries are poor people and children from very poor families. Through them, the Catholic mission was also able to enter into relations with the children's siblings and parents, thus expanding the service of assistance, healing and education. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 26/9/2018)

Pope Francis in Flight Press Conference "... a dialogue between the Vatican Commission and the Chinese.." FULL TEXT

[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]


Papal Flight
Tuesday, 25 September 2018


Greg Burke:

Good evening, Holy Father. Thank you, above all. Three countries in four days, it's not very easy, it's a bit tiring ... They looked a bit like four countries in four days, because the first day there was China's surprise, so we did it too: we got closer to China. We try to stay on the topic - we have said so many times - to talk about the trip. We will certainly start with local journalists from every country, but let's try in the press conference to talk about the trip to the Baltic countries. I do not know if you want to say something before ...

Pope Francis:

First of all, thank you for the work you have done, because for you too, three countries in four days, it is not easy. Above all, moving from one side to the other is tiring. Thank you so much for the service you offer to people on this trip, which is the most important thing about your communication: what happened there ... There are very interesting things on this trip, and I expect the questions in this direction.

Greg Burke:

Thank you. The first is Saulena ŽIUGŽDAITE, Bernardinai.LT, from Lithuania:


Holy Father, thank you for this moment and for all this journey. When he spoke in Vilnius about the Lithuanian soul, he said that we must be a bridge between East and West. But it is not easy to be a bridge: you are always crossed by others. Someone says that our tragedy is that we are on the bridge. Maybe one says: "It is definitely better to become part of the West with its values". What did you mean, what does it mean to be a bridge?

Pope francesco:

It 's true ... It' obvious that you are part today, politically, the West, the European Union, and you have done so much to enter the European Union. After independence, you immediately made all the formalities, which are not easy, and you managed to enter the European Union, that is, a membership of the West. You also have relations with NATO: you belong to NATO, and this says the West. If you look at the East, there is your story: a hard story. Even part of the tragic history came from the West, from the Germans, from the Poles, but especially from Nazism, this came from the West. And, as far as the East is concerned, from the Russian Empire.

Making bridges supposes, demands fortress. Fortress not only for belonging to the West, which gives you strength, but for your identity. I realize that the situation in the three Baltic countries is always in danger, always. The fear of invasion ... Because history itself reminds you of this. And you are right when you say it is not easy, but this is a game that is played every day, one step after another: with culture, with dialogue ... But it is not easy. I believe that it is our duty to help you in this. More than helping you, being close to you, with your heart.

Greg Burke:

Thank you, Holy Father. The next question comes from Gints AMOLINS, Latvijas Radio (Latvia)


Good morning, Holiness. In the Baltics, you have often spoken about the importance of roots and identity. From Latvia, and also from Lithuania and Estonia, there are many people who left for more prosperous countries and many are already taking root elsewhere. And then, there are also, as in Europe in general, demographic problems, due to the low birth rate. So, in this situation what can and should our countries do, the leaders of our countries and also each one personally? How should this problem be assessed?

Pope Francis:

In my homeland, I did not know people from Estonia and Latvia, while Lithuanian immigration is very strong - in relative terms. There are many in Argentina. And they bring culture and history there, and they are proud of the double effort of entering the new country and also of preserving their identity. In their parties there are traditional clothes, traditional songs, and always, whenever they can, they return to their homeland ... I think that the struggle to maintain identity makes them very strong, and you have this: you have an identity strong. An identity that has been formed in suffering, in defense and in work, in culture.

And what can be done to defend the identity? Recourse to the roots, this is important. Identity is an ancient thing, but that must be transmitted. Identity is part of belonging to a people, and belonging to a people must be transmitted. The roots are transmitted to the new generations, and this with education and dialogue, especially between old and young. And you must do it, because your identity is a treasure. Every identity is a treasure, but conceived as belonging to a people. This is what comes to me, I do not know if it corresponds to your question ...

Greg Burke:

Thank you, Holy Father. And now, Evelyn KALDOJA, Postimees (Estonia)


Thank you. I would like to ask the question in English. [translation] In today's homily, you said that there are some who scream and threaten the use of weapons and the use of armies, and so on. Considering where we are, on that same square there were NATO soldiers who were sent to Estonia as security. Many have thought about the situation on the eastern borders of Europe. Are you worried about the tensions in that area and for the Catholics living on the borders of Europe?

Pope Francis:

The threat of weapons. Today, world arms costs are scandalous. They told me that with what you spend on weapons in a month, you could feed all the hungry people in the world for a year. I do not know if it's true, it's terrible. Industry, the arms trade, even the smuggling of weapons is one of the biggest corruption. And before this there is the logic of defense. David was able to win with a slingshot and five stones, but today there are no David. I believe that to defend a country, we need a reasonable and not aggressive army of defense. Reasonable and not aggressive. Thus the defense is lawful; and it is also an honor to defend the country as well. The problem comes when it becomes aggressive, not reasonable, and border wars are made. We have many examples of border wars, not only in Europe, towards the East, but also in other continents: we fight for power, to colonize a country. This is, in my opinion, the answer to your question. Today, the arms industry is scandalous, in front of a hungry world. Second: it is lawful, reasonable to have an army to defend the borders, because this is an honor; as it is lawful to have the key to the front door. For defense.

Greg Burke:

Thank you, Holy Father. The next question is from the German group: Stefanie STAHLHOFEN, from the German Catholic Agency CIC (Germany)


Holy Father, in the ecumenical meeting in Tallinn you said that young people, in the face of sexual scandals, do not see a clear condemnation on the part of the Catholic Church. In Germany, a new inquiry into sexual abuse and how the Church has dealt with so many cases has just come out today.

Pope Francis:

On this I will speak later. I will answer questions about the trip first. Thank you. This is the rule. But it will be the first question after those on the trip.

Greg Burke:

We stay on the trip ...

A journalist from the Lithuanian Radio-Television arrives.

Edvardas SPOKAS

I will speak in English. In all three countries, you are in favor of openness: openness towards migrants, openness towards others. But, for example, in Lithuania there was a confrontation on the story of a girl who greeted her on landing, in front of the plane: she did not have a very Lithuanian appearance. It was partly Italian, with a slightly dark skin ... My question is: do people in the Baltic countries listen to only what they want to hear, or listen to what you are trying to tell them? Do they listen to your message on the opening?

Pope francesco:

The message about openness to migrants is far enough in your people, there are no strong populist fires, no. Estonia and Latvia are also open peoples who want to integrate migrants, but not massively, because they can not, integrate them with the prudence of the government. We talked about this with two of the three heads of state, and the subject touched them, not me. And in the speeches of the Presidents, you will see that the word "welcome", "openness" is frequent. This indicates a will of universality, to the extent that, for space, work can be done, et cetera; to the extent that they can be integrated - this is very important - and to the extent that it is not a threat to one's identity. These are three things that I understood about the migrations of the people. And this has touched me a lot: cautious and well thought out opening. I do not know if you think anything else.

Edvardas SPOKAS

My question was about how your message was received.

Pope francesco:

I think so. In this sense I said. Because today, the problem of migrants all over the world - and not only external migration, but also internal in the continents - is a serious problem, it is not easy to study it. In every country, in every place, in every place, it has different connotations.

Greg Burke:

Thank you, Holy Father; we have finished with the questions about the journey.

Pope Francis:

Very well. I would like to tell you something about some points of the journey that I experienced with a special force.

The fact of your history, of the history of the Baltic States: a history of invasions, of dictatorships, of crimes, of deportations ... When I visited the Museum, in Vilnius: "museum" is a word that makes us think of the Louvre ... No. That museum is a prison, it's a prison where prisoners, for political or religious reasons, were taken. And I saw cells of the size of this seat, where you could only stand up, cells of torture. I have seen places of torture where, with the cold in Lithuania, they took the naked prisoners and threw water on them, and stayed there for hours, to break their resistance. And then I entered the classroom, in the great hall of executions. The prisoners were taken there by force and killed with a blow to the back of the head; then they got out on a conveyor belt and loaded onto a truck that threw them into the forest. More or less he killed forty a day. In the end, there were about fifteen thousand who were killed there. This is part of the history of Lithuania, but also of other countries. What I saw was in Lithuania. Then I went to the place of the Great Ghetto, where thousands of Jews were killed. Then, in the same afternoon, I went to the Memorial in memory of the condemned, murdered, tortured, deported. That day - I tell you the truth - I was destroyed: it made me reflect on cruelty. But I tell you that based on the information we have today, cruelty is not over. The same cruelty is today found in many places of detention, today it is found in many prisons; even the overpopulation of a prison is a system of torture, a way of life without dignity. A prison today, which does not envisage giving the inmate a prospect of hope, is already a torture. Then we saw, on television, the cruelties of the ISIS terrorists: that Jordanian pilot burned alive, those Coptic Christians slaughtered on the beach of Libya, and many others. Today cruelty is not over. It exists all over the world. And this message I would like to give to you, as journalists: this is a scandal, a serious scandal of our culture and our society.

Another thing I have seen in these three countries is the hatred [of the past regime] for religion, whatever it is. Hatred. I saw a Jesuit bishop, in Lithuania or Latvia, I do not remember well, he was deported to Siberia, ten years, then to another concentration camp ... Now he is old, smiling ... So many men and women, for defending their own faith, which was their identity, were tortured and deported to Siberia, and they did not return; or they were killed. The faith of these three countries is great, it is a faith that comes from martyrdom, and this is something that you have seen, talking to people, as you journalists do, to get news of the country.

Moreover, this experience of faith so important has produced a singular phenomenon in these countries: an ecumenical life as there is in others, so generalized. There is a true ecumenism: ecumenism between Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans and even Orthodox. In the cathedral yesterday, at the ecumenical meeting in Latvia, in Riga, we saw it: a great thing; brothers, neighbors, together in one church ..., neighbors. Ecumenism has taken root there.

Then, there is another phenomenon in these countries that is important to study, and perhaps you can do many good things in your profession, studying this: the phenomenon of the transmission of culture, identity and faith. Usually, the transmission was done by the grandparents. Because? Because the fathers worked, dad and mother had to work, and they had to be part of the party - both in the Soviet and Nazi regime - and also educated in atheism. But grandparents were able to transmit faith and culture. In the time when Lithuanian language was banned in Lithuania, it was taken away from the schools, when they went to the religious service - both Protestant and Catholic - they took prayer books to see if they were in Lithuanian or in Russian or German . And many - one generation, at that time - learned their mother tongue from their grandparents: they were grandparents who taught to write and read their mother tongue. This makes us think, and it would be nice some article, some television service on the transmission of culture, language, art, faith in moments of dictatorship and persecution. You could not think of anything else, because all the media, which at that time were few - the radio - were taken by the state. When a government becomes, it wants to become dictatorial, the first thing it does is take over the media.

I wanted to emphasize these things.
And now, I refer to today's meeting with young people. Young people are scandalized: I introduce here the first question that was out of the theme of travel. Young people are scandalized by the hypocrisy of the great. Wars are scandalized, incoherence is scandalized, corruption is scandalized. And in this of corruption comes what she pointed out, sexual abuse. It is true that there is an accusation to the Church, and we all know, we know the statistics, I will not tell you here. But even if he had been a single priest to abuse a child, a child, this would still be monstrous, because that man was chosen by God to bring the child to heaven. I understand that young people are scandalized by this great corruption. They know that there is everywhere, but in the Church it is more scandalous, because we must take the children to God, and not destroy them. Young people try to work their way through experience. The meeting with young people today was very clear: they ask for listening, they ask for listening. They do not want fixed formulas. They do not want a directive accompaniment. And the second part of this question, which was the first one beyond the journey, was that "the Church does not do things as it should in this, in cleaning up this corruption". I take the Pennsylvania Report, for example, and see that until the early 70s there were many priests who fell into this corruption. Then, more recently, they decreased because the Church realized that she had to fight in another way. In the past, these things were covered. They also covered themselves at home, when his uncle was raping his granddaughter, when his father raped his children: they covered each other, because it was a very big shame. It was the way of thinking of the last centuries, and of the last century. In this, there is a principle that helps me to interpret history: a historical fact must be interpreted with the hermeneutics of the era in which this fact occurred, not with today's hermeneutics. For example: indigenism. There have been so many injustices, so many brutalities. But it can not be interpreted with today's hermeneutics when we have another awareness. One last example: the death penalty. Even the Vatican as a state, when it was a Papal State, had the death penalty; the last one was beheaded in about 1870, a criminal, a young man. But then the moral conscience grows, the moral conscience grows. It is true that there are always loopholes, there are always hidden death sentences: you are old, you are annoyed, I do not give you medicines ... and then they say: "it is gone". It is a death sentence - social - of today. But I think with this to have answered. The Church: I take the example of Pennsylvania, look at the proportions and see that when the Church has begun to become aware of this, she has put it all. And in recent times I have received many, many convictions issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and I said: "Forward, forward". Never, never have I signed a request for pardon after a sentence. On this one does not negotiate, there is no negotiation.

Greg Burke:

Antonio Pelayo, of "Vida nueva" Antena 3 (Spain):

Antonio Pelayo:

Holy Father, three days ago an agreement was signed between the Holy See and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Can you give us some additional information on this, on its content? Because some Chinese Catholics, especially Cardinal Zen, accuse you of having sold the Church to the communist government in Beijing after so many years of suffering. What is your response to this accusation?

Pope Francis:

This is a process of years, a dialogue between the Vatican Commission and the Chinese Commission, to fix the appointment of bishops. The Vatican team has worked hard. I would like to make some names: Msgr. Celli, who patiently went, talked, came back ... years, years! Then, Msgr. Rota Graziosi, a humble 72-year-old curial who wanted to be a priest in the parish but remained in the Curia to help in this process. And then, the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, who is a very devoted man, but has a special devotion to the lens: all the documents study them point, comma, accents ... And this gives me a very great security. And this team has gone on with these qualities. You know that when you make a peace agreement or a negotiation, both parties lose something, this is the rule. Both sides. And it goes on. This process went like this: two steps forward, one back, two forward, one back ...; then months have passed without talking to each other, and then ... They are the times of God, which resemble Chinese time: slowly ... This is wisdom, the wisdom of the Chinese. The situations of the bishops who were in difficulty were studied on a case-by-case basis, and eventually the dossiers arrived on my desk and I was responsible for the signature, in the case of the bishops. As for the Agreement, the drafts passed on my desk, we talked, I gave my ideas, the others argued and went on. I think of resistance, to the Catholics who have suffered: it is true, they will suffer. In an agreement there is suffering. But they have a great faith and they write, they send messages, stating that what the Holy See, which Peter says, is what Jesus says: that is, the "martyr" faith of these people goes on today. They are great. And I signed the Agreement, the Plenipotentiary Letters to sign that Agreement. I am the manager. The others, whom I have nominated, have worked for more than ten years. It is not an improvisation: it is a journey, a true path.

And then, a simple anecdote and a historical fact, two things before ending. When there was that famous communiqué of a former Apostolic Nuncio, the episcopates of the world wrote to me saying that they felt close, that they prayed for me; also the Chinese faithful wrote, and the signing of this writing was of the bishop - so to speak - of the traditional Catholic Church and of the bishop of the Patriotic Church: together, both of them, and the faithful of both the Churches. For me, this was a sign of God. And the second thing: we forget that in Latin America - thank God this is overcome! - we forget that for 350 years the kings of Portugal and Spain were to appoint bishops. And the Pope gave only jurisdiction. Let's forget the case of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: Maria Teresa got tired of signing bishop appointments, and gave jurisdiction to the Vatican. Other times, thank God, that are not repeated! But the current case is not for the nomination: it is a dialogue on possible candidates. The thing is done in dialogue. But the appointment is from Rome; the appointment is of the Pope, this is clear. And we pray for the suffering of some who do not understand or who have many years of clandestine life behind them.

Thank you so much! They tell us that dinner is ready and the flight is not long. Thank you very much! Thank you so much for your work. And pray for me.

Greg Burke:

Thank you, Holy Father. Good dinner and good rest.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. September 26, 2018 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 451

Reading 1PRV 30:5-9

Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.

Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, "Who is the LORD?"
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163

R. (105) Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Through your precepts I gain discernment;
therefore I hate every false way.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Falsehood I hate and abhor;
your law I love.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.

AlleluiaMK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them."
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.

Saint September 26 : North American #Martyrs (some places) - St. Isaac Jogues and Companions

JOURNEY OF A BISHOP REPORT: French Jesuits were among the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland.
John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred.

The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649: Goupil in 1642, Jogues and Lalande on October 18 and 19, 1646 in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York; Daniel on July 4, 1648, Brebeuf and Lalemant in March 1649, Garnier and Chabanel in December 1649--all of these five in Huronia, near present-day Midland, Ontario. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.
The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."

Isaac Jogues' declaration on leaving France to return to the mission in Canada is heroic:

"My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not  return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfil the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Brébeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

[Excerpted and adapted from Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar
In 1999, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on the Canadian Martyrs to mark the 350th anniversary of the final deaths of these heroic priests in 1649. It may be accessed at: